Numlock News: March 22, 2022 • Salads, Raccoons, Straight-Leg Jeans
By Walt Hickey
The sad office desk salad’s price spiraled out of control over the course of the pandemic, leading many who return to the office to express sticker shock at today’s chopped salads. According to a Square analysis of lunch orders in major American cities, the average price of a wrap is up 18 percent since last March, the price of a sandwich is up 14 percent, and the price of a salad is up 11 percent. Sweetgreen copped to hiking prices 6 percent in January.
Right now Russia’s censorship agency Roskomnadzor is weighing blocking Wikipedia, the open-sourced encyclopedia, owing to its Russian-language article about the invasion of Ukraine that tells a different story than the preferred one proffered by the government. That’s led to soaring downloads of the entirety of Wikipedia by Russians. Right now, anyone can download Wikipedia in any language — for instance, the 6.4 million-article English version is 87 gigabytes with pictures and 47 gigabytes without — and Russians fearing a crackdown are availing themselves of the opportunity to download the sum total of human knowledge before the hammer drops. Russian Wikipedia has 1.8 million articles and can be obtained in a 29-gigabyte package, and it’s been downloaded 105,889 times in the first half of March, up 4,000 percent compared to the first half of January, with Russian traffic responsible for 42 percent of traffic on the Kiwix servers that distribute it, up from an average of 2 percent last year.
According to new data from LegiStorm, last year saw the highest level of staff turnover in the House of Representatives since at least 2001, the first year on record. Turnover has been rising on the Hill slowly since 2009, but 2021 saw 55 percent more staffers leave their job than they did in 2020. The year — which saw an insurrection storm Capitol Hill as well as the pandemic — fueled the record turnover. Anyway, congratulations to lobbyists on their glorious and bountiful harvest.
A trapper operating out of Idyllwild, California, said he caught 5,255 raccoons and 435 coyotes in Riverside County in the fiscal year ending June of 2021, a breathtaking number of animals that has regulators skeptical. That’s more than the total combined catch of all of the 603 other licensed trapping companies in the state of California, making them singlehandedly responsible for catching 62 percent of all raccoons and 55 percent of the coyotes. Indeed, it means that the trapper was responsible for capturing an average of 14 raccoons every day, an unfathomable pace, remarkable for a two-person operation, and that coyote capture count — more than one a day — stands out particularly because there were only 796 caught in the entire state by literally anyone over the period in question. The state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife sees no reason to look into this modern-day Nimrod.
Last year, 7.6 million couples registered marriages in China. That figure is the lowest level since at least 1986, and marriages in China peaked at 13.5 million couples tying the knot in 2013. Part of that is demographic changes — there were 223 million people born from 1980 to 1989, and just 163 million people from 2000 to 2019. Furthermore, the number of men aged 20 to 40 exceeds the number of women in the cohort by 17.5 million.
The Vibe Has Shifted
In 2021, straight-leg jeans became the single bestselling fit in the women’s jeans market, rising to a third of the market and selling $3.3 billion worth of denim. They have toppled skinny jeans as the most popular style of jeans in the United States, though the skinny jeans still top the market among Gen Z and Millennials. Last year was a remarkable year for jeans in general, as overall revenue in the women’s jeans space was up 9 percent in 2021 compared even to pre-pandemic levels in 2019.
A portrait of Marilyn Monroe by Andy Warhol, Shot Sage Blue Marilyn (1964), will be auctioned off by Christie’s in May. It’s currently expected to score $200 million, which is the highest-ever estimate for a work of art at auction. The expected price can oftentimes be blown out of the water at auction: In 2017, Salvator Mundi by a guy who lots of people argue is Leonardo Da Vinci sold for $450.3 million, smashing its $100 million estimate. Warhol’s work has been doing less business on the auction circuit, and last year the $347.6 million worth of Warhol sold was down 34 percent from the 2015 peak for the artist.
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